How do you best remember Heath Ledger? For most, I'm sure it is his final, chilling performance in The Dark Knight. For me, it is his first leading role in a US film: A Knight's Tale. In that film, a 21 year old Health won my heart and continues to make me laugh and cry.
If you haven't yet seen A Knight's Tale, let me tell you that it is charming, engaging, and takes you on an emotional journey that will not disappoint. It is a tale of growing up, of hopes and dreams, of overcoming obstacles, and of unconditional love. It is also a rousing comedy with engaging classic rock as its soundtrack!
Heath's character, William, is a poor apprentice living in class-bound 16th Century Europe. Servant to a jousting champion, Will finds himself longing for greater things than the life of poverty his class has handed him. In a bold and dangerous move, he decides to "change his stars", and pretends to be nobility so he can enter a jousting competition. This unleashes a whilwind adventure as he becomes a jousting sensation, travels the world, and makes loyal friends and bitter enemies... all of which could be gone in an instant if his true identity were to be revealed.
I was quite impressed by the special features on this version of the DVD. In addition to the usual deleted scenes, there are also several "Making of..." featurettes that explore every nook and cranny of the film, from props, to stunts, to editing, to the choice of rock as the movie's theme music. Each one is very good and worth the watch.
This is a movie that I always come back to. The story is inspiring, and the characer of William makes it that way. He is brave and bold, and yet kind and considerate, he refuses to be defined by his class, but is not ashamed of it. He is a picture of integrety, and a true hero. A knight in shining armour with a smile that can melt your heart.
Rest in peace, Heath.